A Question on Paranoia

Are paranoia and a marked taste for intrigue especially great in Spanish speaking cultures? Are these French and Italian characteristics as well? Mediterranean generally? Why is the Portuguese faculty the most reality based?

I realize I am suggesting very broad generalizations but I have reason to ask these questions. I will be grateful for all answers but I would particularly like an answer from a Romance Philologist.

If this answer indeed confirms a general cultural attitude, it will ideally, although not necessarily cite instances or evidence of this attitude in Medieval and Renaissance texts.



Filed under Questions

7 responses to “A Question on Paranoia

  1. I don’t know about paranoia but nepotism flourishes in Hispanic Studies in a way that no other department in my experience can match. I love my field of knowledge passionately but if I’d had any idea about this, I probably would have chosen a different field.

    Today, this was brought to my attention in a particularly poignant way, so it’s kind of a sore point right now.

  2. Z

    Nepotism is bad in Spanish departments, although in my experience it’s even worse in French. (In fact, every supposedly evil “Latin” characteristic seems to me to apply the most closely to the French!) But I think you’re onto something — if in my experience the French are horribly nepotistic and also get off on this while remaining in denial about it, the Spanish are horribly nepotistic and they suffer from it, and are aware of the problem, and it makes them nervous. The awareness of nepotism would help explain the paranoia issue.

    We have a new person every year; each of these is told by the French they won’t need a car, so they’re very stranded when they arrive; each is very paranoid; I end up giving rides to paranoid people; it is exhausting; I don’t think the situation is their fault or that the problem is them, however (even though I wish they’d get cars – which takes them a semester – and hate I hearing and having to calm the paranoid jitters, it’s wearing).

  3. As to paranoia, I recently started hoping that people at my department were more paranoid. When the administration pushes some really radical changes on us, it would make sense, I think, be a little suspicious of the administration’s motivation and long-term goal. I can’t, however, convince my colleagues that some paranoia is appropriate in this case.

  4. Z

    Isn’t it funny how paranoid people can be about each other, and how trusting of the administration?

  5. Z

    A friend says it’s the penchant for revenge that makes Spanish departments so singular.

  6. You are so right!!! Two colleagues from one of my former departments have been feuding for 16 years now because of some joke one made about the other when they were new hires there. They still use every opportunity to sabotage each other, and of course everybody around them suffers ecause they have to take sides.

  7. Z

    One of our new assistant professors made a few phone calls to me at my house, ostensibly to vent but really to try to dig up shit and stir it, divide and conquer (very inappropriate behavior in an assistant professor).

    I told him this was inappropriate and that he must stop it, and he told me I had insulted his honor! 😉

    It appears he thinks that will impress me, a poor Danish-American girl trying to learn Spanish…

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